Leach leaves Warks on the rack
Three wickets from Jack Leach left champions Warwickshire facing an uphill climb to avoid an LV= County Championship defeat at the hands of Somerset.
The Taunton hosts declared on 266 for four midway through the third afternoon on the back of Nick Compton’s unbeaten 105, leaving Warwickshire a mammoth target of 515 for victory.
Varun Chopra and Will Porterfield responded admirably with a three-figure opening stand, yet the latter was then given out caught at short-leg off Leach, who went on to snare Jim Troughton and Ateeq Javid with successive deliveries before stumps were drawn.
With the classy Chopra unbeaten on 81, Warwickshire closed on 144 for three, trailing by 370.
Somerset, 46 without loss overnight, lost nightwatchman Leach to the last delivery of the day’s second over when he was beaten by a ball from Chris Wright and adjudged lbw.
Compton began on five and was joined by Alviro Petersen, who quickly got into his stride. The South African took two to midwicket off Chris Woakes to bring up Somerset’s 100 and quickly moved onto 43 before falling leg-before wicket to the same bowler.
James Hildreth also fell leg-before to Woakes, but Craig Kieswetter then joined forces with Compton to put the hosts back on the front foot.
The duo initially operated with relative caution, but gradually opened up after lunch and found the boundary frequently as an obvious declaration loomed.
Kieswetter finished unbeaten on 59, while Compton brought up his first century of the season with a huge straight six off Javid, prompting Marcus Trescothick to call an immediate halt to Somerset’ second innings.
After being dismissed for 157 first time around, Warwickshire got off to a much better start, with Chopra appearing particularly fluent en route to a 74-ball fifty containing 10 fours.
Just when it looked as though the hosts may be running out of ideas, Leach provided a welcome breakthrough, although Porterfield appeared unfortunate to be sent on his way.
Troughton then shouldered arms to fall lbw for 17 and Javid was caught at silly point first ball to leave Warwickshire with much to do.